This article is a follow up article in the understanding of Indriyaas. We covered “Jyaanendriyaas” in the previous article . We also learnt about the Golakas and Indriyaas and how they are connected. Today we will understand the similar concept of Karmendriyaas and different cosmic powers related to karmendriyaas as per Vedic thought.
The five golakas related to karmendriyaas are are mouth, hands, feet, genitals, and anus . To know more about golakas, please refer to my previous article here.
Understanding Karmendriyas :
Karmendriyas are the faculty or principle that helps us to perform some action in the world outside. They are five in number and the first one is called Vaak – the power to speak , the second one is Paani – the power to grasp an object, the third one is Paadya – the power of movement, the fourth one is Upasthaani – the power to create/ procreate, and the last one is Paayoo – the power to excrete. The little more contemplation on the subject will reveal that these karmendriyaas use the physical organs of action to perform action in the outer world. However, in a dream or in a mental realm, they can speak, grasp, move, create, and eliminate with the help of mental equipment called mind. Indriyas are the actual tools in the toolbox of action organs. This piece of knowledge is quintessential to understand the concept of various devataas (gods) mentioned and glorified in Vedas.
Understanding Devatas :
The ancient sages observed the nature and understood the unity of inner and outer world, the micro and macro, the individual and the total. Let’s take an example of power to speak. They explored that they are not the only one who have the power to speak. The various creatures in the world holds this power in different magnitude, like blue whales, pistol shrimp, elephants, and tigers etc. have one of the loudest speech among the living creatures, while butterfly, goldfish, snails, and jellyfish etc. makes almost no sound. This observation and understanding led them to form the concept of devatas, the total cosmic power having a peculiar function .
So, when Vedas glorify Agni as the deity for speech/mouth, they are not saying that the controller of physical mouth/speech is the Fire that we see, what they mean that there is a principle that controls the total cosmic power to speak and my limited power to speak is a part of that total cosmic power, and hence I offer my salutation to that cosmic power to grace this individual self with the power to speak I enjoy. Here, we should also understand that they knew that there is only one supreme being and all these powers do not belong different being as such, yet they glorified different aspects pf total cosmic power with different names so as to pay reverence to individual aspects of that supreme being. Hence, vedas say “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” means the absolute truth is one, yet sages call it with different names.
Devatas — Golakas in human body ——————Cosmic Power
Agni ————————— Mouth ——————————————Power to speak
Indra———————— Hands ————————————— Power to grasp
Vishnu———————— Feet ———————————————Power to move
Prajapati——————— Genitals ———————Power to create/procreate
Yama —————————Anus ————————————-Power to eliminate
All I pray for each one of us is this, “Next time if we hear foul or unpleasing words, may we recognize the Agni in those words and offer our silence to him, if we see someone trying to eye that we assume belongs to us, may we recognize Indra in that grasping and share that belonging as an offering to him, if we see someone able to create more than us, may we recognize the prajapati in that desire to create more and offer love and wishes as an offering to him, if we see any thought clinging to our mind that is non-conducive to our spiritual growth, may we reject that thought and move on as an offering to him.”
Tat, That, Him alone reaches all our actions, thoughts, and, Will.